Archive for December, 2008

Pinto & Butterscotch Beans

December 28, 2008 4 comments


                                                                           Pinto Bean Flower

I have just returned from a short getaway in one of the hotels in Singapore. It was a well deserved rest and it was a pleasant surprise to see my small plant in bloom. The pinto bean plant is blooming! I was rather amazed that this small plant had started flowering in such an early stage.


Commonly known as the “Pearl Beans”, the yound beans can be used to make soup and other delicacies. The seed pods are red and speckled with white and green spots. Like any other bean plant, their flowers are white in colour and elongated. They are not long vining plants as they can be grown into a shrub. Some support is needed to prop them up and they don’t grow very big, which means corridors are ideal places to grow them!

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                                                                    Butterscotch Bean plant

The Butterscotch bean plants had turned into a mini hedge for me! The plants in two neighbouring pots started to intertwined with each other and their leaves were so close together that blocked out most of the sunlight over my other plants! Bean plants are fairly easy to grow and they fruit frequently. Good amount of sunlight and plenty of water are needed to keep them green and healthy. As they are fast growers, regular dose of fertilizers are needed too!


Potting up a fussy guy…

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Most people start out their carnivorous plants journey with the famous Venus Flytrap, then gradually advance to growing sundews. Some may got themselves into growing tropical pitcher plants, so after growing all these exotic plants, what’s next?

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          My first Cephalotus                                                         Dried up!

I would say the Cephalotus. Cephalotus Follicularis is a special pitcher plant found only in Australia. They are the ultimate test for carnivorous plant gardeners. Growing them is no easy feat, gardeners need to apply all their gardening knowledge and experience in order to grow them well!

I had tried growing them before and the plant died on me in just a week! The problem was using the wrong potting media, the sand I used was unwashed and may contain some minerals which the Cephalotus dislike. The plant show no sign of growth and suddenly losing all their leaves and roots started to rot.


                                                Not giving up, my second Cephalotus

I decided to give them a shot again and got hold of this rare plant from my forum guru. It came in a 2-inch pot and it just look so beautiful that no carnivorous plant gardeners can resist! This time round, it survive more than 2 weeks in my growing conditions and still doing well. But their roots have started to wriggle their way out of the pot! Cephalotus is extremely fussy when their roots are disturbed and repotting them is a very delicate job.


I decided to take the risk and prepare the potting media. This time round, I am careful and take note of every detail and procedure of the repotting process. I slowly inch the plant out of its pot, holding the media together. But the media crumbles away when I almost got the entire plant out!

In the end I got the plant into the new pot, and hoping it will survive the ordeal. It looks great in its new pot!

Beautiful Nepenthes!

December 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Remember the Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’ I bought from SGF 2008? It had been growing very vigorously for me. Producing a new leaf every week and there is always a red pitcher on every leaf! This wonderful hybrid can adapt to different conditions very well, my fellow gardeners also have great success with this plant.


                                                         Nepenthes ‘Gardentech’

The parent plants are N.ampullaria and N.ventricosa, which are the few most forgiving and easy to grow Nepenthes. The pitchers bear resemblance from their parent plants, which red colouration, squat and hourglass shape. Though the plant has yet reach maturity, the pitchers are still a sight to behold!

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                   Red beautiful pitchers!                          A new unopened pitcher! 

Another plant is N.veitchii “Golden Peristome”, this particular plant can produce mature pitchers with a wide golden peristome. Considered as a intermediate plant, it can be adapted to highland and lowland conditions. The pitchers are big, and almost the same length as its leaves! The pitchers have  red colouration on the inner half of pitchers, which serve as a trapping mechanism by confusing their prey.

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       Red top, green base!                                N. veitchii “Golden Peristome”

I am surprised that it is growing very well in my current conditions. My windowsill is very windy and humidity level can fluctuate tremendously. But the plant has been healthy and putting out a new leaf with a growing pitcher! For the usual case, I do not expect a newly acquired plant to grow healthy leaves for the first few leaves formed under my conditions, and yet this plant is giving me a new pitcher! Can you imagine the mature pitchers of this plant! I jus can’t wait for it to grow!

My Garden with new plants!

December 9, 2008 6 comments

IMG_0269I have recently added some more plants to my small garden and they are growing very well. Remember my Ying Yang beans? Actually the correct name is Butterscotch beans! They have been losing their leaves and tendrils were turning yellow. Looking at their present state, I added a generous amount of growth fertilizer to the soil and they started to grow with new energy! More leaves were formed and they started flowering again!

Same goes for my Capsicum plant. The fruit stopped growing and remain green in colour for quite sometime, only after adding the fertilizers, the fruit finally ripen and turning yellow! My recent additions were the Pinto bean plant and the dwarf pineapple plant. Pinto beans are also known as “pearl beans” to grocers and they are seasonal vegetables. Their pods were red and speckled with white and green. The beans itself is almost pure white, with streaks of pink, hence its name “pearl beans”.IMG_0266IMG_0265

                          Ripe Capsicum                                               Pinto Bean seedling 

I got my dwarf pineapple plant (Ananas nanus) from my aunt who had been very successful in growing this plant. The flower is smaller than the typical pineapple plant and their fruits are small and unsuitable for consumption. There were small pups growing from the mother plant and my aunt picked one of them for me to grow! I potted them up in a draining and open mix and placed it side by side with my veggies. Hopefully one day I can blog on their flowers and new growth.

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                Dwarf Pineapple Pup                                                    Rosemary

My Rosemary plant finally got a bigger home after growing in a 3-inch pot for so long. The roots were almost “ate up” the soil! Rosemary is easy to grow if you keep them dry and a good amount of light. Many had failed and the common reason is the moisture in the soil is just too much for them.


                                                          More cherries coming up! 

My Barbados Cherry shrub, grew a lot of leaves over the past few weeks and I gave them a nice haircut! It was a pleasant surprise to see them flower again! This time, I got four fruits forming instead of just one during the previous flowering season. I guess hand pollination is still important as my area don’t really have natural pollinaters around.

A great book to read!

December 2, 2008 Leave a comment

I was at the library a few days ago when I picked up a book on Carnivorous Plants. “Growing Carnivorous Plants” by Barry A. Rice is a nice book to read as it covers almost all kinds of carnivorous plants in the world.

This book talks about different cultivation methods and concise descriptions on the special characteristics of the various plants. The photos in the book are simply unbelievable! Close-up shots and wild carnivorous plants photos will keep you flipping the book again and again!

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The author himself also has a website ( where he continues to talk on growing these exotic plants. I learnt a lot from this book, about how growing conditions affect the growth of the plants, diseases and pests and also tips on growing carnivorous plants.

The book can be found in many National Libraries ( Dewey Code: 635.93375 ) in the home & gardening section.